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India appeals against recent WTO ruling on steel exports by Indian companies

India has opposed a recent ruling passed by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in a case related to imposition of penal duties by the US on steel exports by Indian companies. India has filed an appeal against the ruling. Though the report of the dispute panel favoured India in its stance that the US’ determination of Countervailing Duties (CVD)—a levy to neutralize Government subsidies — on high grade iron ore violated WTO norms but the international body rejected a number of objections raised by India on specific technical issues related to how penal duties are to be estimated.

In its appeal India has asked for revisiting the panel’s decision to reject the objections it has related with the US method of calculating countervailing duties. It is worth mentioning that the US have been imposing CVD ranging from 18% to 500% on carbon steel from India for more than a decade. The high duties have badly impacted Indian steel companies such as Tata and Jindal reducing Indian exports of the product to almost zero.

The US imposes the CVD on the ground that iron ore sourced by Indian steelmakers from public sector NMDC is supplied at subsidised rate because it is government-owned. India rejects this claim and argues that NMDC always sells at the prevailing market prices which are determined by their exports to Japan and South Korea.

The WTO also ruled in India’s favour in the way it decided to define a ‘public body’. However, the WTO rejected a number of Indian challenges which included challenges to over 300 instances of the use of ‘facts available’ and challenges to the US’ benchmark calculations and inclusion of new subsidy programmes in CVD review proceedings.

CVD are imposed on goods to counter export subsidies and prevent dumping and as per the 1964 Marrakesh Agreement. US imposed CVD on India’s exports of hot rolled carbon steel flat products involving steelmakers like Tata, Jindal and Essar who are supplied ore by the state-run iron-ore mining firm, NMDC. In the meantime, the government is also conducting an evaluation all other products of Indian origin on which the US has exercised the same provision to calculate CVD.

Punjab’s rural sector has ‘lowest’ credit deposit ratio: Report

Along with decline in the overall Credit Deposit (CD) ratio of banks in Punjab for the period ending June 2014, the CD ratio of state’s rural sector has been registered the “lowest” in comparison to that of in urban and semi-urban sectors.  As per latest report of State Level Bankers’ Committee (Punjab), the CD ratio of banks in Punjab’s rural sector plunged to 60.76% as on June 2014 from 63.21% in corresponding period of year 2013.

Credit Deposit (CD) ratio” refers to how much a bank gives as loans of the deposits it has mobilized. The low ratio shows banks are not fully utilizing their resources for banking activity. 

The Punjab government had already expressed concern over the low deposit ratio in rural sector. It had even told the banks to increase the ratio. The overall CD ratio of Punjab has also reduced by 2.20% to 77.70% as on June 2014.

PM Modi accentuates promoting Tourism, ‘Clean India’ campaign to be launched on October 2

PM Narendra Modi stressed on the need to promote tourism saying it provides employment to the poorest of the poor. He pointed out ‘filthiness’ in the country as a big obstacle in promoting tourism and our national character.

He observed that even after so many years of independence, when we stand at the threshold of one and half decade of 21st century, we still live in filthiness. He held that “cleanliness is very big work”.  He called upon the countrymen to make a resolve that they would never spread filthiness and keep their surroundings clean.

He decided to launch a ‘Clean India’ campaign from October 2, 2014 this year on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi marking the importance Mahatma gave to cleanliness. The campaign will be carried out for next 4 years and will conclude on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma in 2019.

Mr. Modi appealed to the Members of Parliaments to utilize MPLAD funds for constructing toilets in schools for a year. He called upon the corporate sector also to give priority to the provision of toilets in schools with their expenditure under Corporate Social Responsibility.  He urged them to achieve this target within one year with the help of state governments and on the next August 15, we should be in a firm position to announce that there is no school in India without separate toilets for boys and girls.

PM Modi emphasizes on “Digital India”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his maiden Independence Day speech from the Red Fort shared his dream of a “Digital India. He wondered what a quality education the children in villages will get, if all the villages of India are connected with Broadband Connectivity and if we are able to give long distance education to the schools in every remote corner of the villages. If we establish a network of telemedicine in the places where there is a deficit of doctors, we can set a clear guideline of the way in which health facilities have to be provided to the poor people living in those areas.

He called upon the countrymen to move towards the direction of mobile governance. A direction where every poor person is able to operate his bank account from his mobile, is able to ask for various things from the government, can submit applications, can perform all his business, while on the move, through mobile governance. He said that all this can be done by moving towards creation a ‘Digital India’.

His idea of ‘Digital India’ is not limited to just connectivity but also includes domestically manufacturing electronic goods like televisions, mobile phones, i-pads etc. which we import in large amount. If we move ahead with the dream of ‘digital India’ to manufacture electronic goods and become self reliant at least there, it would be of great relief for the treasury. He said that the idea of ‘digital India’ should also be driven by e-governance which he called “easy governance, effective governance and also economic governance”. E-governance paves the way for good governance. He said that IT that has the potential to connect each and every citizen of the country and we can realize the motto of unity with the help of ‘Digital India’.